Ten Minutes

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“Ten minutes. That’s all I need.”

Those were the words my newest client spoke to me when he came to visit me yesterday. Ten minutes.

He handed me an 8mm videotape. “It’s cued up. All I need is ten minutes from where it is. Can you put it on a DVD for me?”

I can’t always satisfy immediate requests but he caught me on a good day. I had an 8mm tape player that was currently unoccupied, so I said “Of course.”

As I set up the equipment and began to capture his footage, he told me the story behind the video. What he captured was a moment during a fashion show of a beautiful young girl who, along with her brother, sang an original song to their mother thanking her for raising them.

Sadly, that brother died not too long after the video was taken and as far as my client knows, no one else recorded this special moment between the two of them. He came across the tape recently (it was in his camera that hadn’t been used in a decade or two) and he decided that the family would like to see it.  You think?

Ten minutes of a captured piece of personal history that was once thought lost or unrecorded is of immeasurable wealth. It is very thoughtful for my client to gift this to the family and I was happy to be able to provide the service that made it happen.

What’s on your video? Maybe you have some footage of a neighbor or friend that they’ve never seen or that they’ve forgotten even existed. It happens far more frequently than you may think.

Michael Ondrasik and Home Video Studio specialize in the preservation of family memories via the digitalization of film, videotapes, audio tapes, photos and slides. For more information, call 352-735-8550 or visit www.homevideostudio.com/mtd.

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This do ye, in remembrance of me.

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Trying to remember key events or special moments is nothing new. Regardless of one’s faith, we can all agree that the Bible, which in one form or another, has been around for millennia, always taught that we ought to remember what is important.

In the days of Moses, fathers were exhorted to teach their children the things of God, “speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.” In other words, keep on teaching them… always. Why? So their children would learn and, most importantly, remember them.

Jesus took great pains to instruct his followers to use the practice we now know as communion in order to remember his sacrifice and what was accomplished through it. It is a practice that has continued uninterrupted in Christian religions for the last 2,000 years.

Why is it that cultures will build monuments or statues of influential leaders? It is done so future generations might recognize and respect the life and accomplishments of the one being honored. It is done so that others will remember.

Your memories are worthy of remembrance as well. Maybe you didn’t change the world but I can guarantee that the impact of your life reaches well beyond you. And therefore, your memories matter… to someone. They deserve to live on after you are gone.

We can help you with that. Give us a call or pay us a visit. Learn what is available and how you can leave your loved ones with a treasured legacy of your life.

Michael Ondrasik and Home Video Studio of Mount Dora specialize in the preservation of family memories through the digitalization of older media like film, videotapes, audio cassettes, photos and slides. For more information, call 352-735-8550 or visit www.homevideostudio.com/mtd.

 

The Best Compliment Ever

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I received a compliment yesterday. I actually receive them most days but I don’t often mention them. I am basically a modest and reserved person (although you may find people who think they know me who will disagree with that assessment. Go figure.) Regardless, I am generally not inclined to bring undue attention to myself.

But yesterday’s compliment struck home with me. It spoke to what is probably the one attribute that I strive hardest at maintaining. I received a call from an out of state individual who has been following me for months on Facebook. He spends part of his year in my area (winters generally) and the rest of the year he spends in northern climates.

He called me to let me know that he has chosen to bring his videotapes to Florida next time he comes down for one reason only. He trusts me to transfer his precious family memories to a digital form in the best possible manner. Through following me on Facebook and by reading my blogs, he said he could tell that I was a person of integrity. That hit my heart big. Because it is true.

I may not always be the smartest guy in the room. I may not always be the most talented guy in the room. But I hope I can always be the truest guy in the room. Ask me a question. I’ll tell you what I can do and what I can’t do. I’ll tell you what I think would be the best solution to your problem and I’ll advise you whether it makes financial sense to chose one way over the other.

Why? Because that is what I want service providers to do for me. Service providers can always make money just by providing the services they do. They don’t need to pad their coffers giving people services or products they don’t want or need. I vow never to be that guy. I want to be the guy people trust to do right by them. My integrity is everything. I’m just glad someone noticed.

Michael Ondrasik and Home Video Studio of Mount Dora specialize in the preservation of family memories through the digitalization of older media like film, videotapes, audio cassettes, photos and slides. For more information, call 352-735-8550 or visit www.homevideostudio.com/mtd.

The Greatest Race

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Let me set the scene. I was in 6th grade. It was the 60s and we were at the height of JFK’s Presidential Physical Fitness Program. My elementary school, acting in accordance with federal mandates, held a school-wide assembly patterned after a mini-olympics.

There were contests of physical strength, competitions involving stamina or endurance, and, of course, the premiere event – the 100 yard dash to determine who would be named the fastest student in the school.

I won my first heat and moved into the second round. I won that one as well (easily if I recall correctly). I moved into the final heat and quickly outpaced the others to be named the fastest boy at Brookhaven Elementary. I was congratulated by none less than the principal himself. It was only then that I learned I was not yet finished. Without regard to the potential humiliation at stake, the principal informed me that in order for them to determine the fastest student, I would have to race the girl champion. Mano a Femano. (sic)

My male peers gathered round me, not to provide encouragement… we were in 6th grade after all… they just wanted to make sure I knew that if i lost to a girl they would never let me live it down.

I glanced at my competitor. She was a speed demon in pigtails with a look of determination I’ve never seen replicated since. To make matters worse, this was the highlight event of the day. All the other competitions stopped and the entire school body: students, teachers, parents, and administrators turned out to watch this one race between two youngsters. Me against a girl, who in all honesty, was probably faster than I was.

I would like to say that I called upon an inner strength or found a Chariots of Fire-like faith but the reality is I was too afraid to lose. I did not want to subject myself to the shame and embarrassment of coming in second in a two person race – losing to a girl. I ran faster than I had ever run in my life. And I prevailed. But when I crossed the finish line a step ahead of little Missy, I could sense the disappointment from the crowd. After all, I was a boy – I was expected to win. Little did they know that it could have gone either way.

Michael Ondrasik and Home Video Studio of Mount Dora specialize in the preservation of family memories. For more information, call 352-735-8550 or visit www.homevideostudio.com/mtd.

Sugar Bread

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There are memories that are so vivid they seem like they happened yesterday. Then, there are others that seem like you’re remembering them through a fog. This is one of the latter kind.

I was having a conversation the other day and the subject of childhood snacks came up. As we started naming the various kinds of snack foods we were allowed to eat while we were young, I suddenly blurted out: “Sugar Bread!”

That stopped things.

What I vaguely remember is, as a snack, we were given toast or bread, slathered with butter, with sugar granules sprinkled liberally on top. And by sprinkled liberally, I mean to say dumped. I also remember it being delicious.

I don’t suppose, with the health craze being what it is today, that current youngsters have had the opportunity to sample this particular snack food. They don’t know what they’re missing.

I don’t care how bad a day it had been, warm bread, melted butter, and a spoonful of sugar always seemed to make everything all right. It has been five decades since I’ve had this delicacy. And I most likely will never try it again. Some things are just better as memories.

One of these days, I’ll have to share with you how to make the perfect liverwurst sandwich.

Michael Ondrasik and Home Video Studio of Mount Dora specialize in the preservation of family memories by transferring old media (film, videos, slides, photos, and audio recordings) into newer digital forms. For more information, call 352-735-8550 or visit www.homevideostudio.com/mtd.

The Crossing

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Mount Dora had its annual antique boat show this past weekend and while I am not much of a boating guy, that doesn’t mean I don’t have boating memories. Au contraire. I have many.

The first one that comes to mind was one of the first son-in-law/father-in-law bonding times I ever experienced. My father-in-law had a boat that he would take to the Bahamas every summer. He usually hired a captain to take the boat on the “crossing” from mainland USA into the Atlantic to the islands.

This one year, he decided to take the boat himself but needed a crew. His daughter and I were his choice. I accepted but had absolutely no idea what I had signed up for.

Because I had limited time before I had to go back to work, we felt pressured to attempt the crossing when the weather was not what we’d call optimal. There were pretty rough seas and the boat, which I before thought was huge, was being tossed around like a cork. And so was my stomach.

My wife, seeing my obvious discomfort, bravely went below decks to get me something to eat thinking it would somehow quell my seasickness. She came back a few minutes later, looking pretty green herself. In her hands was a bowl of pretzels soaked in dishwashing liquid. Apparently things below decks were getting tossed around too. We ate them anyway.

It took us much longer than we had planned but we eventually reached our destination where we promptly ran the boat aground on a sandbar. I was navigating. But at least we weren’t tossing about any more.

For some reason, that was the last time I was invited on my father-in-law’s boat. He sold it not too long after that trip.

Michael Ondrasik and Home Video Studio of Mount Dora specialize in the preservation of family memories. We digitalize film, video, audio, photos, negatives and slides to preserve them for future generations. For more information, call 352-735-8550 or visit www.homevideostudio.com/mtd.

Memories Matter Pie

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Date night with the wife last night. Woo Hoo! We went to see the traveling Broadway show WAITRESS, adapted from the movie of the same name. It is essentially about a unhappily pregnant waitress with an uncanny way of baking her dreams and emotions into her amazing pies. And it was utterly charming and enchanting. I can recommend it as an evening well spent. Kept me smiling and engaged from beginning to end.

On the way home, I had the opportunity to think of other movies that featured pies (kinda) in a significant way. Here’s what I came up with:

AMERICAN PIE: A raunchy teenaged sex comedy that was neither charming nor enchanting and yet made a pile of money at the box office. But while the pies in Waitress were mouthwatering, the American pie in this film was clearly aimed at a different part of the anatomy.

LIFE OF PI: A fantasy/allegory about a shipwreck, an Indian boy (Pi), and a tiger named Richard Parker. No baked goods were used but the lead character’s name was similar enough to bring it to mind. And the visuals were breathtaking.

And speaking of that…

PI: A psychological thriller by Darren Aronofsky which, in all honesty, I only watched in part as boredom and confusion compelled me to start channel surfing. But since Pi is the only word in the title, it made the list.

Finally, an oldie but a goodie…

NATIONAL VELVET: Starring Mickey Rooney and a young Elizabeth Taylor beating the odds when they enter their horse in England’s Grand National Sweepstakes. Again, there was no baking going on but the name of Elizabeth’s horse was “The Pie.”

Did I miss any? What are your favorite Pie or Pi movies?

Michael Ondrasik and Home Video Studio of Mount Dora specialize in the preservation of family memories. For more information, call 352-735-8550 or visit www.homevideostudio.com/mtd.

$1 Dollar Win

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Easter is just around the corner and with it the annual Easter egg hunt. Over the years, I have transferred a lot of video that parents took of confused children holding baskets while they roamed around the yard or house without really knowing why.  On the surface… strange custom.

But maybe that is sour grapes because I never really mastered the skill of finding eggs hidden by giant bunnies. Most years my little basket would be empty until my sisters shared theirs with me or my parents took pity and did the old “you’re getting warmer” trick.

But there was one glorious year when we traveled as a family to a public park for a community-wide Easter egg hunt. Prizes were being offered for most eggs found (boy and girl) and there was one golden egg hidden that, when found, would bring the finder a special grand prize.

The word was given and what felt like a thousand excited children ran uncontrollably into the park. I lagged behind, all too aware of my inadequacy in the egg-finding skill set. Until, all of a sudden, a golden glint caught my eye. All the other kids, so anxious to get to the heart of the park, raced right past the grand prize. I gingerly picked up the golden egg and placed it in my basket.

At the end of the event, I was handed my prize. It was a 1927 silver dollar, already 35 years old when given to me. As he put it in my hands, the grand leader of the hunt, like a Mary Poppins banker, admonished me to tuck it away and save it as it is sure to increase in value. I heeded his advice… for a while. But then, well… McDonalds came out with their dollar menu and I was hungry.

By the way, I just checked and today, that same silver dollar might be worth somewhere between $23 and $42 dollars.

Michael Ondrasik and Home Video Studio specialize in the preservation of family memories. For more information, call 352-735-8550 or visit www.homevideostudio.com/mtd.

#StopRobocalls

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I have tried very hard to keep this blog on point – discussing events that occur during my day that spark old memories in my mind… but there are times when I can’t help but feel a rant coming on.  Feel free to skip this particular blog entry – it may get a bit heated.

I personally hold no animosity towards telemarketers. Everyone has a right to try to sell their product or services to anyone they choose. But I draw the line at robocalls. You know the kind I’m talking about. Automated dialers with a human-sounding recorded voice blathering on without offering the other end the opportunity to respond. I get between five and twenty calls each and every day. 

I know there’s a Do Not Call Registry I can sign up for. I have. It doesn’t stop them. I know I can block their numbers. I have. It doesn’t stop them. I am running a business as a sole proprietor and I am being interrupted throughout the day by nuisance calls. Many of them from the same company.

I figure that, as a consumer, I have only one recourse. And so I vow to employ it. I have begun to keep a list of all companies who call me via an automated dialer and robocall or recorded announcement. And I will never, ever use their services or purchase their products. Ever. They may repent and stop the practice but if I get but one robocall from them, they go on the list and they have lost me forever. I will not give a second chance. It is the only thing I know to do until this ill-advised, invasive marketing practice is outlawed and enforced.

You may join me if you like. I will be happy to share my list with you. Technological advances can be a wonderful thing. They can also be misused. Robocalling is an easy method for a company that does not care who they disturb or upset. But it will never represent a company in a positive light. If their product or service does not warrant the time and expense it takes for a human to dial a number and have an actual conversation with another human, it certainly does not warrant the time it takes me to answer the phone and listen to their idiotic recording.  #StopRobocalls

Michael Ondrasik and Home Video Studio of Mount Dora specialize in the preservation of family memories (when we aren’t preoccupied by dealing with phone calls from computerized systems). For more information, call 352-735-8550 or visit www.homevideostudio.com/mtd.

 

Our Memories Become History

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I had a client come in yesterday with a request. He recently came back from a trip to the holy land and was meeting that evening with other people – some who were on the trip with him and others who wanted to see what they missed.

His request was simple. Take the photos that were taken during the trip and put them into a Powerpoint presentation that could be displayed during his speech. And as we were going through the photos to choose which ones to include in his presentation, the emotional impact the trip had on him shone through. He is a local minister and during his trip he had the opportunity to stand on the same temple steps where Jesus Christ once stood and deliver the same sermon that Jesus once gave to the people who followed him. It was an experience that will now be etched into his memory forever.

And it did not escape me that a main reason the experience had that impact on him is because the memory of what Jesus did was recorded and preserved for over two thousand centuries.

History is nothing more than memories that have been preserved. We know the acts of Jesus because his words and actions were written down. Since then, languages may have changed but, as they did, the original texts were translated into the new languages. The memories themselves did not die. They were preserved for future generations and future cultures.

We have the ability to do the same. We have been able to record the memories of our lives only to find that technology changed while we were living it. That doesn’t mean our memories are suddenly lost. We can convert our older recorded memories to today’s newer technologies. Our memories can still become tomorrow’s history. We just need to take the steps to ensure they will be preserved.

Michael Ondrasik and Home Video Studio of Mount Dora specialize in the preservation of family memories. For more information, call 352-735-8550 or visit www.homevideostudio.com.mtd.